In a tournament plagued by small weights, consistency was key for the win.
Jonathan Carter had that consistency, and he won the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Eastern Divisional handily by sticking with three spots that served him well.
Carter, a member of Maine’s Full Throttle Bassmasters, chose to stay in the Mystic River, a place that most anglers thought was good for a few big fish but not for quantity. He was within a short drive of the launch ramp throughout the competition. He finished with 20 pounds, 14 ounces over the three-day tournament.
“I decided to go up the Mystic because one of my team members, Scott Barker, said he had seen a lot of big fish in 8 inches of water,” explained Carter, 30. “I started there on Day 1 and didn’t have a bite until 10:30, then I caught two out of a tree.”
That bite came all three days at about the same time and in about the same place. He caught kicker fish off a rockpile under a bridge and at a marina not far from launch.
Carter was fishing within sight of Connecticut’s Mickey Soler, who led the first day with 10 pounds, 7 ounces but zeroed yesterday. Today, Soler brought an 8-8 sack to the scales. The two who fished the same area ended up in first and second place.
“I was fishing as shallow as possible,” said Carter, who relied on a Dinner Bell Lures lead-free 1/2-ounce jig with a 4-inch Berkley Chigger Craw trailer (black/blue). “I would throw the lure in and leave it there, not moving it at all. Fish would come up and swim away with it.”
Carter used a 7-foot heavy action Kistler Magnesium Jig Toad Carolina Rig rod, Abu Garcia Revo SX reel with a 7:1 gear ratio and 17-pound-test Berkley 100 Percent Fluorocarbon line. He caught one small fish using a 1/2-ounce Strike King spinnerbait with a 7-foot Bass Pro Shops Rick Clunn Signature Series spinnerbait rod and an Abu Garcia Revo STX with a 6.3:1 gear ratio.
The first-grade teacher qualified for the 2012 Cabela’s Bassmaster Federation Nation Championship, Oct. 25-27, on Alabama’s Wheeler Lake. He and Soler will compete alongside other state team champions, including Paul LeBlanc, Massachusetts; Robert Williamson, New Hampshire; Steve Pickard, New York; Bruce Leeson, Ontario; Chris Molineaux, Rhode Island; Enrique Bernal Morera, Spain; and Jim Jeffries, Vermont.
In the state team competition, Massachusetts took the trophy with an accumulative catch of 101 pounds, 13 ounces. Behind Massachusetts was Connecticut with 98-15 and Rhode Island with 95-0.
Junior Bassmaster anglers were competing today on the Mystic and Charles rivers, as well, for spots in the 2012 Bassmaster Junior World Championship, held in conjunction with next month’s adult championship. Rhode Island’s youth swept the competition, finishing first in both the 11-14 and 15-18 age divisions. Brandon Johnson, 14, and Corey Horelick, 18, took home the trophies, and the pair will journey to Alabama in October.
More adult and junior anglers will compete for spots in the championship next week in the last divisional of the season. Anglers will take to the Upper Chesapeake in Northeast, Md., beginning next Wednesday, Sept. 19. Fans can follow the action on Bassmaster.com with photos, stories and live feed of the weigh-ins.
Image courtesy Bassmaster